Event Review: The 2017 New York Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival

Disclaimer: In exchange for an event review, I received two entry tickets.

manhattan-new-york-beer-bourbon-and-bbq-barbecue-festival-at-the-waterfront-2On January 28th, the Waterfront (269 11th Avenue between 27th and 28th Street) in Manhattan, New York hosted the local Beer, Bourbonand BBQ Festival. Included in the ticket price, in addition to a free-for-all style of snacking and drinking with a dj on the premises, was the chance to become a football hooligan.  (In other words, it was the usual overcrowded jamboree with ambiguous line-forming, but at least a few shots of whiskey could help you forget that fact.)

manhattan-new-york-beer-bourbon-and-bbq-barbecue-festival-at-the-waterfront-3The venue – The Waterfront – was at first, a distribution center for Hudson River cargo ships and railroads, and then in the 1980s, a nightclub called The Tunnel.  It was a cool space, and evokes remarkably a much-storied past.

Overall, I was underwhelmed by the amount/quality of bbq, and faced with way too many alcohol options..which is great if you’re a lush, but not so much if you are hungry.  Yes, the food is filling, but even by 7:30pm – the event went to 9:30pm, a few stalls had run out of grub.

These issues notwithstanding, there were a few points worth noting:

manhattan-new-york-beer-bourbon-and-bbq-barbecue-festival-at-the-waterfront-1Let’s start with the find of the night, beef jerky from Jerky Rob‘s.  They had samples for a few of their varieties, but darn, the “hot smokin’ jerky” was the best I have ever tried.   OK, for those who can’t tolerate spicy foods, it’s probably not for you, but if that flavor was sold in New York – they’re only in Westwood, New Jersey, and occasionally, food festival in the Tri-State area – I’d buy in bulk.  Perhaps I should get another sample package to, uhh, test consistency…

manhattan-new-york-beer-bourbon-and-bbq-barbecue-festival-at-the-waterfront-10Hank Sauce‘s hot sauces were another standout.  The logo – a fish – stems from the founders’ origin being the Jersey Shore and their university being in St. Augustine, Florida.  The hot sauces are in general, rather creamy, likely owing to the presence of butter.  They may not be the hottest sauces around (after all, the point isn’t to breathe fire, only to add some spice to a dish), but they make up for this with the pleasant additions of cilantro and basil in some of their flavors. You can find Hank’s Sauces throughout the Mid-Atlantic, though not yet in New York City.

Good times, and here’s a bonus question: does the logo remind you of this band?

manhattan-new-york-beer-bourbon-and-bbq-barbecue-festival-at-the-waterfront-7I dug the name of one of this Michigan brewery’s beers.

manhattan-new-york-beer-bourbon-and-bbq-barbecue-festival-at-the-waterfront-9They had no bottles to show off, but here’s another memorable name.

manhattan-new-york-beer-bourbon-and-bbq-barbecue-festival-at-the-waterfront-6Kloby’s Smokehouse likely had the most enjoyable bbq option of the night– pulled pork.  They also had bread pudding, but I gobbled it up before the camera had a chance.

manhattan-new-york-beer-bourbon-and-bbq-barbecue-festival-at-the-waterfront-4manhattan-new-york-beer-bourbon-and-bbq-barbecue-festival-at-the-waterfront-8Beans and collard greens.  Worth the repeat trip.

Though I did encounter some good eats at the Beer Bourbon and BBQ Festival this year, I’ll hope to see many more food options next time.

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